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Female Viagra not covered on most insurance plans …

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(CNN)

Michelle Weber says that when her boyfriend wanted to take Viagra, his insurance paid for it, no questions asked.

So when she wanted to take the new “female Viagra” for her sexual problems, she figured that would go smoothly, as well.

But it didn’t.

Her insurance company refused to pay for the drug, called Addyi, saying she’d have to see a psychiatrist first.

“They don’t tell men who want Viagra that they have to see a psychiatrist,” said Weber, 38, who asked that her real name not be used, in order to protect her and her boyfriend’s privacy.

Indeed, they don’t, say doctors who treat sexual dysfunction.

And these doctors say the psychiatrist requirement is just one of many “barriers” that insurance companies have put in place for women, but not men, who are seeking drugs to treat sexual problems.

“It’s a huge double standard,” said Weber’s gynecologist, Dr. Tami Rowen, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California-San Francisco.

 

Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a sexual health specialist in San Diego for both men and women, said insurance companies have routinely rejected his prescriptions for Addyi, but that’s never been the case for Viagra.

“It’s startling. It’s so sexist,” said Goldstein, the president of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, who has been a paid consultant to the pharmaceutical companies that make both Addyi and Viagra.

In addition to the psychiatrist requirement, Weber’s insurance company, Blue Shield of California, refuses to pay for Addyi unless a woman first tries another, less expensive drug, according to the company’s prescribing guidelines.

That less expensive drug isn’t approved to treat sexual problems and can have devastating side effects.

Blue Shield gave Weber a third reason it wouldn’t pay for Addyi, according to a letter it wrote her. The company said it wouldn’t pay because her low libido appeared to be a side effect of a medication she’s taking.

Weber said Blue Shield must have been referring to the only drug she takes: a type of antidepressant known to have sexual side effects for both men and women.

 

But she said she suffered from low libido even when she wasn’t on an antidepressant.

“And I’d love to know, do they tell men they can’t have Viagra because they’re on antidepressants?” she asked.

CNN sent Clinton McGue, a Blue Shield of California spokesman, an email with this question. He responded that “without knowledge of the member’s detailed history or the case,” he could not provide more of a response.

When asked about the Addyi denials, a spokeswoman for the insurance industry responded that some studies have shown Addyi isn’t very effective and can have side effects.

“If there’s a question mark around a coverage decision, that usually means there’s a question mark around the efficacy,” said Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans. “This drug failed two FDA reviews prior to being approved, and the reason it got approved the third time is because of a broad PR campaign by the company that makes it.”

That explanation doesn’t sit well with doctors who treat sexual dysfunction. They say the FDA ruled last year that Addyi, which is taken every day, is safe and effective. The doctors add that the drug doesn’t work for all women, but it certainly works for some.

“I think women in general should be alarmed. Insurance companies are covering things for men that they’re not covering for women,” said Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones, a gynecologist in North Carolina.

Doctors said the “double standard” they see for women with sexual problems manifests in other ways, too.

They said insurance typically pays for their older male patients to take testosterone to boost their sagging sex lives. But when older women want treatments for vaginal dryness and atrophy, insurance companies usually balk.

Krusing disagreed, saying major insurance companies do cover such treatments.

 

But gynecologists cite denial after denial for such drugs.

Dr. Laura Hirshbein, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said she’s dismayed but not surprised that insurance companies are often refusing to pay to treat women with sexual problems.

Hirshbein, who studies issues of gender, sex and psychiatry, said men with erectile dysfunction get a multitude of treatment options, which are often celebrated in giant advertising campaigns.

“Men get told they can expect to function sexually and can expect to easily get whatever they need in order to do that,” Hirshbein said.

But she said that historically, women have been told that if they have sexual problems, they must be mentally ill.

“Women are told it’s all in their head,” she added.

In March, when Weber received her Addyi prescription from her gynecologist, she unsuspectingly headed to the pharmacy to fill it.

The pharmacist came back with the news: Her insurance company wouldn’t pay for it. She could pay for it herself — to the tune of $1,000 a month.

No, thank you, Weber said, and walked out empty-handed.

Blue Shield’s McGue said in a statement that “a committee of external pharmacists and physicians, including psychiatrists, review the medical evidence for prescription medication to determine Blue Shield’s coverage policy,” he wrote. “The committee determined that Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is best diagnosed after a psychiatric evaluation.”

 

But doctors said other specialists, such as gynecologists and sexual health experts, have the training and experience to identify and treat sexual problems, not psychiatrists.

“I’m a sexual health expert. This is my niche,” said Rowen, Weber’s gynecologist. “And they’re telling me I can’t diagnose a sexual disorder? That’s crazy.”

Hirshbein, the psychiatrist at the University of Michigan, agreed. She said that when her patients suffer from sexual dysfunction, she sends them to doctors who have more experience in that area.

“I’m a psychiatrist. I wouldn’t write a prescription for [Addyi], in the same way I wouldn’t write a prescription for Viagra,” she said.

In his statement, McGue also mentioned “the serious safety concerns associated with Addyi [which] include adverse effects of the central nervous system.”

Addyi has a “black box warning” highlighting the increased risk of low blood pressure and fainting when combined with certain other drugs or with alcohol.

The less expensive drug that Blue Shield requires women try before taking Addyi has a black box warning of its own.

Bupropion, also known as Wellbutrin, has a warning highlighting the risk of developing “serious neuropsychiatric symptoms,” including suicidal thoughts.

“That makes no sense,” said Kelly-Jones, the gynecologist in North Carolina. “For Wellbutrin to be considered first-line therapy for something it’s not FDA-approved to treat, that’s concerning.”

Since getting the rejection from Blue Shield in March, Weber has been on a mission.

She did get a prescription from a psychiatrist and marched it into the pharmacy a few weeks ago.

The pharmacist came back with more news: Blue Shield had rejected it again, saying she needed more documentation from the psychiatrist.

Weber calls the whole situation ironic.

Her boyfriend doesn’t need Viagra, she says. He can have sex without it. He wants it so he can have longer-lasting erections, hoping that might make her happier.

“I’m the one with the actual disorder. I’m the one with no sex drive at all. But he’s the one who walks out of the doctor’s office with a prescription that he can actually fill,” she said.

As she tries to increase her libido — she sees a certified sexologist for help — she hopes her relationship will survive.

 

She explains to her boyfriend that she doesn’t know why she has a low libido, but she knows it has nothing to do with him or his sexual performance.

Even with the reassurances, she’s not sure their relationship will survive her lack of interest in sex.

“We’re thinking about getting married. It’s really serious. But a big piece of it isn’t working, and that’s hard for both of us,” she said.

 

CNN

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Baby needs Viagra to live !!!

A  ten MONTH-OLD baby girl has to take Viagra

Best known for treating erectile dysfunction, so that her heart can function properly, Kosmo! reported.

Nur Aafiyah Amanda Norhisham, who has suffered from heart and liver complications since birth, has to take four pills every month, which are divided into small doses and transferred into her body via a tube.

Her mother Raja Karipah Raja Hamzah, 46, said the youngest of her six children was prescribed Viagra by a specialist doctor.

She said she bought the Viagra pills at RM38 each at the pharmacy.

Viagra is the trade name for sildenafil citrate, the first oral treatment for erectile dysfunction. It was green-lit for use by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1998.

Raja Karipah said her daughter’s health issues began after she was delivered at Segamat District Hos­pital via Caesarean section when she was just 34 weeks old on Sept 29, 2015.

“The doctor advised me to give Nur Aafiyah the Viagra pills to help overcome her hole in the heart condition,” she said.

Raja Karipah added that she and her self-employed husband spent RM1,100 every month to treat Nur Aafiyah, besides receiving a RM300 monthly aid from the welfare department.

> Putting an end to speculation over their relationship, popular TV stars Amar Baharin, 31, and Amyra Rosli, 25, have announced that they were getting married on Nov 11, reported Sinar Harian.

Amar, when met at a function in Sunway Montana Clubhouse, said they had their reasons for keeping a lid on the relationship so far.

“I did not want to lie to the reporters when they pursued the issue earlier.

“I, myself, do not like sharing sensational stories before the matter is confirmed,” said Amar, adding that he became attracted to Amyra after they worked together in the drama Suamiku Encik Sotong.

“We became close and got along well afterwards, but we never declared that we were lovebirds.”

Amyra, whose full name is Nur Amira Izzati Rosli, said she was comfortable with Amar because he was mature and smart.

“Yes, Amar fulfils the features of my dream man and he is serious about taking our relationship to the next level.”

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8 Things Your Penis Can Tell You About Your Health

A man’s nether region should not only be judged based on how it performs in his love life but in his everyday life as well. A healthy penis is vital to ensure the entire male body is fully functioning and at optimal performance to complete daily processes. A penis’s sensitivity, size, and erection are all associated with male health in terms of what’s normal and what’s not, which may serve as an early indicator of problems in other areas.

1. Shrinkage from Too Cold or Too Hot Temperatures

Sperm production thrives in temperatures that are slightly below normal body temperatures. Men will often notice when they are cold, their penis shrinks. According to Harvard Health Publications, the blood vessels in the penis shut down because of the cold temperatures, but it will still be able to expand to its usual size once the blood flow begins. Going from slightly below normal body temperature to an increase by even two, three, or four degrees, can negatively affect sperm and testosterone production. Men are advised to keep their genital area cool by avoiding tight pants and warm, moist places like hot tubs for long periods of time if they are having trouble conceiving with their wives.

2. Prostatic Congestion, or “Blue Balls” During Sexual Arousal

Men may frequently say they have “blue balls,” medically known as prostatic congestion, especially when sexual arousal is not followed by an orgasm. The testicular aching or lingering sensation of discomfort a man feels is due to the uneven blood flow that leads to an increase in the volume of blood trapped in the genital. This leaves the penis erect and the testicles engorged until the volume of blood in the genital is reduced and the penis and testicles return to their usual size, says Sexual & Reproductive Health Matters.

3. Alcohol Use and Erection

Consuming too much alcohol is not only bad for your liver but for your penis’s health. A man’s ability to get an erection is hindered by drinking high doses of alcohol, or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08, according to McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois. The dehydration associated with drinking causes less blood volume and a rise in angiotensin  — the hormone associated with erectile dysfunction. However, for some men, particularly for younger men, heavy drinking can reduce anxiety and facilitate erections.

4. Smoking and Penis Arteries

It is a known fact that smoking cigarettes contributes to the development of atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque inside the arteries. Cigarettes clog the heart’s arteries, including those that fill the penis with blood during erections. The toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage blood vessels that may lead to erectile dysfunction, says the National Male Medical Clinics. Smoking can also cause damage of the penile tissues that will impact the ability of a man’s penis to function normally.

5. Decline in Penis Sensitivity

A decline in penis sensitivity is completely normal for a man as he ages, although how much sensitivity is lost remains undefined. The sensitivity of the penis is evaluated by the least amount of stimulation a man is able to feel. According to the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, age-related decrease in libido is usually attributed to a decline in testosterone levels and changes in receptor site sensitivity to androgen. Sensitivity starts to decline from age 25 and on, with the sharpest decline seen in those between age 65 and 75.

6. Erections Keep Penis in Shape

Every time you get nocturnal penile tumescence, or “morning wood,” your penis is actually staying in shape. The muscle of the penis must receive oxygen via blood flow that causes it to engorge and become erect. If men don’t experience regular erections, the penile tissue can become less elastic and shrink, which could make the penis one to two centimeters shorter.

7. Vasectomy Doesn’t Stop Release of Semen — Right Away

Men may opt for a vasectomy to prevent the release of sperm when he ejaculates in order to either eliminate the risk of pregnancy, or for other personal reasons. After the surgical procedure, the sperm count begins to gradually decrease, taking anywhere from two to three months for sperm to no longer be present in semen, according to Medline Plus. Until a doctor confirms your semen sample is free of sperm, use protection.

8. Penis Home to Bacteria

The skin of the penis is an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply, but the amount of bacteria depends on whether the man is circumcised or not. A study in the journal American Society for Microbiology found there were fewer kinds of bacteria on the penises of a group of men who got circumcised, compared to the samples taken when they were uncircumcised. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes several studies found circumcision changes the bacteria ecology of the penis, which may explain why snipping the foreskin reduces the risk of HIV infection. The theory behind this is that anaerobic bacteria  — bacteria that do not live or grow in the presence of oxygen  — could cause the immune system to react in a way that makes cells more vulnerable to HIV infection in uncircumcised penises.

A healthy penis is not just about how well a male performs in the bedroom, but also about how it functions on a day-to-day basis. If the penis is not able to get erect, it could reflect problems that go beyond sex, an indicator of problems with other organs in the body. Remember men, your penis is a dipstick indicator of health.

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